Posted in Archives and Libraries, Arizona pioneers, Biographical, Four Corners, Friday Finds, Navajo Reservation, Newspapers

Early Tuba City, Arizona: Records of the Tanner and Foutzes, part 1

My grandmother, Annie Marie Tanner, was born in Tuba City, Arizona on 18 Aug 1901.  I knew she grew up in Kirtland, San Juan County, New Mexico and wondered exactly when and why the family left Arizona.  Tuba City lies within the Navajo Reservation in the northeast corner of Arizona, while Kirtland is just outside the Navajo reservation in the northwest corner of New Mexico.  Using newspaper articles, Congressional records, and correspondence within federal agencies I pieced together the fascinating story of the early Tuba City settlement and will share some of the records in coming weeks , while also highlighting the archives and libraries where the records were found. Briefly, the settlers who had arrived in the 1870s were bought out by the federal government when the Navajo Reservation was expanded to include their property. There is a lot more to the story, though, as the records will reveal.

Here is a newspaper article, “Will Leave Their Homes”,  (November 15, 1902 Coconino Sun, page one, column three) summing up the situation in Tuba City in 1902.  It is blurry because it is a photo of a microfilm image taken at the Arizona State Archives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Note the mention of S.B. Tanner.  That is Seth Benjamin Tanner, father of Joseph Baldwin Tanner and  grandfather of Annie Marie Tanner.  Watch in the coming weeks for records from this interesting period of time in Tuba City, and  the Tanner and Foutz families.


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

7 thoughts on “Early Tuba City, Arizona: Records of the Tanner and Foutzes, part 1

  1. Hello. Seth Benjamin Tanner is my great great grandfather. I am trying to find the house or where the house was that he lived in when he lived with his family in Tuba City. Would you know this?

    1. Hi–I guess that makes us 3rd cousins. Nice to meet you! I don’t know exactly where his house was located, except that it was in “Reservoir Wash” according to the congressional records. I have the pages from the congressional record which describe his property and also that of H.W. DeSpain if you are interested. Just email me at the email link on this website and I can send you the pictures of the pages. Thanks for being in touch! –Dayna

      1. I didn’t find the link but I went to your Facebook page and emailed you from there. I hope that works?!

  2. I really enjoy reading your research! I had never seen this picture of Granny. It’s fun to learn more details about the move from Tuba City, too.

  3. Is there any evidence that it was because the settlers were Mormons that they were “encouraged” to leave?

    Also, I’m saving all of your “Friday Finds” for research in the area because I hope to find a piece of time to find out if John Wren Owen, son of Thomas Harvey Owen (brother-in-law to Elizabeth and Martha Gooch) was, in fact, murdered in Phoenix in 1877. He was only in his 50s, and the circumstances were odd. He was the Maricopa County Treasurer – and, when he was found dead, the Treasury was gone….He went to Arizona Territory with the Army during the Civil War and stayed.

    I find it interesting, if not uplifting, to notice that Arizona of early days was at least a surly a place as it is now – which is why I’m wondering if it “encouraged” the Mormons to leave.

    And Annie Marie Tanner is another lovely woman!


    1. The whole situation was complex. The answer is “yes” and “no”, although I think they would have had to leave even if they had not been Mormon because the reservation really did need to expand. I will explain more in future posts, so stay tuned…

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